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Comical Vacations 2

Comical Vacations 2

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Comical Vacations 2

Lunghezza:
938 pagine
16 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781370577880
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Comical Vacations 2

Three-Book Bundle

Contents

The Finch Family Holiday 3

It is that time of year again folks, yes summer is here so batten down the hatches because the Finch family are heading for Cornwall to stay in a holiday home by the sea with its own secluded beach. Sounds idyll, sounds relaxing and sounds like a lot of fun in the sun so one out of three is not bad since all is not what it seems and how is Kitty Finch supposed to chill out when there are certain people winding her up from start to finish. As extra members of the clan are joining them for the ten-day humorous adventure so sparks could fly if someone lit a match to ignite the tension, sexual or otherwise. There are days out to look forward to in Cornwall where the Finch family discover new things, try out new stuff and resort to old tricks when needed.

Will Kitty’s cousin get the better of her on this comical vacation? Will Kitty Finch be involved in any holiday romances or just watching from the sidelines, as per usual? Will a cardboard figure and a knitted scarecrow survive the vacation to go on another one?

So come along and catch up with the funny Finches as they show you what having a British family holiday is about.

The Finch Family Holiday 4

This year’s Finch family holiday finds them flying off to France for ten days in the rural French countryside. Only Kitty Finch seems to spend her vacation time searching for something whether it is a home for a pet, a handbag or a holiday romance. Not to mention the mystery man and his yellow socks that bring trouble her way. All whilst avoiding the unwanted advances of a certain somebody who does not know when to take no for an answer but should know better.

As the Finch family comes across plenty of people to share their time with including German neighbours, English expats and even a French farmer to name a few. One of the men Kitty meets is special enough to take her fancy for a French fling, so start reading this funny French farce to see if she succeeds despite the exes who are hijacking her holiday fun. Whether it comes to randy rabbits, randy monkeys or randy men it is all part of the experience.

The Finch Family Holiday 5

Who wants to go on holiday when they are ill in bed? Kitty Finch does not so she does her best to get out of the annual family holiday but no, her parents are having none of it so she is going to Turkey whether she likes it or not. Since they will probably kidnap her if she does not comply and come willingly while she never imagined part of that sentence actually coming true on this trip. Anyway, they are soon off to the airport where her nightmares begin and not for the only time on this holiday does Kitty wish that she had stayed in bed and had not bothered getting up. Not that she wants to appear ungrateful about going on a five-day all-inclusive package holiday in the sun during the school half-term in October, it is just that she will be face-to-face with her ex-husband who she hasn't seen since the wedding fiasco and the less said about that the better.

Despite not feeling up to a holiday with the family, it is not all doom and gloom for poor old Kitty because she does get to experience things in Turkey that she never would have had she not gone there and some aspects of it she even enjoys. As this is what a British family holidaying abroad gets up to when left to their own devices. Only do not expect this laugh-out-loud saga to end there because the funny Finches will be back for yet more shenanigans in the next book.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781370577880
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Maureen Reil writes comic commercial fiction and has had over 35 books published, so far, but she's always working on a new manuscript so she wishes to add to that tally with lots of new titles before she's done and dusted. She was born in the city of Liverpool and resides in semi-rural Lancashire UK, but longs to live by the sea. It was always a dream of hers to become a novelist and thanks to her readers, she has fulfilled that ambition, so she couldn't be more grateful if she tried. And Maureen hopes you enjoying reading her books as much as she enjoys writing them.

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Comical Vacations 2 - Maureen Reil

Comical Vacations

2

(Three-Book Bundle)

By Maureen Reil

Copyright ©2017 Maureen Reil

Updated Edition 2021

This eBook is entirely a work of fiction.

The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

Maureen Reil asserts the moral right to be identified as the sole author of this work.

Also by the author Maureen Reil

Chick-Lit By Any Other Name (Chick-Lit Collection)

Chick-Lit By Any Other Name 2 (Chick-Lit Collection)

Lily Loves To Love

Sleepyhead Shares A Secret

I Did Write What I Know

I Hate Me, Who Do You Hate?

Chick-Lit Saved My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 1)

Chick-Lit Stole My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 2)

Chick-Lit Staged My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 3)

Chick-Lit Collection

Chick-Lit Trilogy

Mistletoe And Wine (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Mistletoe And Wine 2 (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Mistletoe And Wine 3 (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

Christmas Comedy Trilogy

Let’s Get Married (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Together (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get It Started (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Serious (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

Let’s Get Physical (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

The Finch Family Short Break Book 0 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 1 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 2 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 3 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 4 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 5 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Easter Holiday 6 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 7 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 8 (Comical Vacations)

A Granny Is For Life, Not Just Christmas

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 1 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 2 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction (Six-Book Box Set)

Comical Vacations 1 (Three-Book Bundle)

Comical Vacations 3 (Three-Book Bundle)

Wed To The Wrong Wayne

Christmas Crackers

Wed To The Wrong Wayne

The Desperate Dater’s Intervention

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Things Can Only Get Better

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Luck Had Nothing To Do With It

Table of Contents

The Finch Family Holiday 3

The Finch Family Holiday 4

The Finch Family Holiday 5

The Finch Family Holiday

3

By Maureen Reil

Copyright ©2015 Maureen Reil

Updated Edition 2021

Dedicated to

RNLI

(Royal National Lifeboat Institution)

Table Of Contents

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day10

The End

Day 1

No matter how much you plan your time carefully in advance so you have plenty of time to get ready in time. It does not help if you are adhering to a watch on your wrist that you deliberately put on for the sake of staying on schedule but somehow you forgot to correct the damn time from when the clocks went forward, back in March. So now, you are running an hour late for the start of this year’s summer holiday with the Finch Family and that is never a good sign for things to come. The next minute my stressed out father who is clearly fed up of honking the car horn outside and having me ignore it so he comes hurtling into my room to hurry me along. Dad reaches down with a twitch of his eye and unplugs the curling tongs that I was using to do my hair with before tossing them onto the top of my open case laying on the bed and squashing the lid down to zip it up in a flash. He does not say a word to me but I can hear him swearing and muttering under his breath. I am too stunned to say a word, when Dad grips the handle and he is out of there before I can stop him. If I want to go on holiday with my case then I had better get a move on I guess or it will leave with or without me. I dread to think what I will find when I open up the case on arrival but I’ll worry about that when we get there, if we ever get there. I don’t think Dad’s old car will make it all the way down to Cornwall without conking out at least once, maybe, twice.

‘Is that the new trend these days . . . to have half your hair curly and the other side straight? You follower of fashion you, I cannot keep up with it,’ says Mum, when I plonk down on the backseat in a huff.

‘No, it is not trendy. It is ridiculous. I do not want to go out in public looking like this but I had no choice,’ I reply, glaring at my father.

‘What do you mean? Nobody is forcing you to wear it like that.’

‘Yes they are. Dad would not let me finish my hairstyle,’ I moan.

‘It’s your own fault. You are late. You know we have to add on the time needed to pick you up from your flat and then pick up Lola.’

‘How many times must I tell you? It is not a flat. It is not even a bedsit. It is just a storage room that I live in,’ I said to put her straight.

‘I can’t go around telling people you live in a storage cupboard, can I? They will think you live in one of those . . . rent a storage container unit and that will reflect on me being a bad mother for letting you.’

‘If this is your way of saying you miss me and want me home. Sorry but I am very happy where I am, so thanks for the offer but no thanks,’ I reply. Just in case, Mum is getting any ideas on persuading me to return to the Finch family house. I left it earlier this year in order to move into the back of the bookshop where I work.

‘Oh, I was about to offer. No, your father and I like being a couple again . . . instead of parents. We have a private love life nowadays so we can experiment with sex wherever and whenever we like and there are no longer any ears at home to hear us being noisy . . . bliss.’

‘Ugh, Mum. TMI, I’m feeling car sick already now and we haven’t even moved off the kerb yet.’ I look at Dad shuffling the load about to fit my case in. If I smell burning, will it be my clothes or the car engine? I would hate to bet on it but I hope the car overheats rather than my holiday outfits as my father shoves the case in the boot. The car door bursts open beside me as a stack of cereal boxes are laid on my lap for the journey south. It could be worse; it could be the cast iron BBQ that I had one time. Six hours of that and I would lose the use of my legs for the rest of the holiday so I cannot complain really.

I had informed the bookshop owner that I wanted to leave home and get my own digs but could not afford it on my wages so I was thinking of leaving my job for a better-paid one, like working in the pizza place whilst I saved up. He could not match their wages but he could offer me a chance to escape the midlife meddlers and I took it. Granted, it does not have room to swing a rat, never mind a cat but it is my own personal space and I can make do without a shower. Do not get me wrong, I do not stink to high heaven for I go swimming at the leisure centre across the road every morning before work. I took some lessons to become a stronger swimmer after my doctor recommended it for keeping fit whilst having little impact on my arthritic joints. I am also back on my old pills after the near death experience with the last batch of new pills last summer but learning to manage my pain and discomfort better these days. Therefore, it was a win-win situation when I can shower freely afterwards and start my day with a fresh mind, body and soul. Saying that, it does make it tricky when I want to wash after closing time because I have to hunch over the shop’s sink in the WC but like I said, it’s all mine. Moreover, nobody is having sex or wanting to interfere in every aspect of my life from what I am eating to what I am wearing to what, I am watching and everything in-between. I am free to do what I want when I want and you can never put a price or indeed a sanity clause on that bonus.

‘I see Lola is getting the cardboard toilet this year, on her lap,’ I say to Mum as my father shoves the portable potty (which uses plastic carrier bags to capture the waste for easy disposal) onto the spare seat.

‘Huh, I’ve got the cricket stuff as per usual and the tinned bins so no change there. I do not know why your father insists on bringing the wicket set but he does, even though we never use it,’ complains Mum.

‘I normally agree about that but this year with Uncle Billy joining us, it might be a different story you never know,’ I said about the change in our usual Finch family holiday dynamics.

‘It will be good for your father to bond with his brother, since your Uncle Billy’s divorce we hardly see him and Becky anymore.’

My grandmother (more often known as Lola) is thrilled of course to see her boys on holiday together, as they used to in the good old days. Uncle Billy and his daughter (my cousin Becky) who never normally comes on vacation with us but this year they are. In fact, we are staying at their holiday home in Cornwall by the coast so I am really looking forward to it. I love the smell of the sea and the idea of hearing the crashing waves hitting the rocky terrain and spending time lazing on the beach below us. After having met up again at the funeral of Great-Granddad Gregory Finch, well, it made the brothers (my dad Joel and Uncle Billy) admit that they don’t spend nearly enough time together and as it sometimes goes with funerals, it makes you question how you do spend the time you have before it is too late. It was decided at that moment that we would go down and spend ten days vacation with them and come hail or shine, we were up for it.

Luckily, we did get to spend some time with the real Gregory Finch before he passed away from organ failure in the old actor’s nursing home that we finally found the old man in after years of searching for him. It turned out in the end of course that the right one was not the same Gregory Finch that we mistakenly brought on holiday to Blackpool. We had since confessed this accidental kidnapping to Mason (my ex-husband the copper) before we enlisted his help to find the real one. After my ex-boyfriend Odin Lambert said on holiday in The Lake District that he shared a prison cell with a ‘Gregory Finch’ but he turned out to be a con man who had robbed the identity of our one. This led to discovering the proper person eventually but it took so long because he had changed his identity too and was living under his stage name of Gene Robbins so no wonder we could not locate him. Speaking of Gregory Finch, we could not believe our eyes when we pulled up outside Lola’s place (my grandmother) for she was standing there beside the man himself. Talk about spooky; it was slightly unnerving to say the least to see him in all his prime and glory as Lola stood proudly with her arm around her father’s shoulder.

‘What the hell is that thing?’ asks Mum and tries to locate her glasses in the glove compartment but without any luck, despite hardly being able to reach it in the first instance to open it up or even close it.

‘It’s a life-size cardboard figure image of Gregory Finch or rather, the actor Gene Robbins,’ I reply as Dad jumps out of the car, having parked up on the kerb in frustration at having to fit the flat man into the vehicle along with Lola’s stuff. I notice Dad is swearing a lot more these days but never aloud so you hear the mumbled mutterings.

‘The fountain pen is on fire that Lola is sucking on,’ observes Mum.

‘It’s not a pen, it’s an electronic cigarette,’ I confirm.

‘Why are you bringing him with us?’ asks Mum loudly to Lola.

‘I was going to bring the real Gregory with us, if he hadn’t died. This way, he still is sort of coming on a Finch family holiday and I can bond with the man I never really knew but wanted to share memories with,’ replies Lola and patting the image of her late father.

‘The poor man had Alzheimer’s so he didn’t know who you were.’

‘Yes, we all know that but I need this so bear with me,’ insists Lola.

‘Where’s he going to go?’ shouts Mum through the window.

‘He can go in the middle, between Kitty and me,’ replies Lola.

‘We can’t have his feet resting on the gearstick, I need to use it,’ objects Dad, twitching his eye as he takes out items to squeeze her case in the boot so that means more for us to store around our feet.

‘Well we can sit him down if we bend him at his crotch and knees.’

‘He looks too stiff to do that. Aren’t you scared of breaking him in half?’ I ask Lola as she leans him against the car and opens the door to take the cereal boxes off my lap to plonk on the pavement beside him. Then she removes the cardboard portable potty so she can position the image of Gregory onto the backseat in the middle section.

‘Sit on him whilst I hold him in place,’ instructs Lola at me.

‘What if I snap him like a twig? I don’t want you having a go at me.’

‘I thought of that, with you being so heavy so I brought some duct tape along with me just in case I have to piece him back together.’

‘Hurry up; we were supposed to be meeting up with your brother ages ago,’ orders Mum, checking the time. Dad is still dealing with the excess baggage. Lola has a smaller case but an extra holdall to go along with it, so she may as well have brought her big one.

‘Those people are looking at me funny. Oh great, I think they recognise me from the bookshop,’ I said about the passersby who walked across the road just as I was attempting to sit on the lap of a cardboard man, with Lola’s shoes dangling precariously out of the open car door as she bends down to get his feet correctly positioned.

But from their innocent view, the image of the man probably looked real to them when I gently moved up and down to bend his body whilst holding onto the headrests and being scared to put all of my weight on him for fear of wrecking him altogether since I would never hear the last of it if I did. God knows what they thought Lola was doing to his feet; at least, I prayed they did not think she was doing anything to me. I have to live in this town after this holiday. I shuffle over to my seat after the deed is done to Lola’s satisfaction. She clips his seatbelt into place. Even a poor old cardboard figure of Gregory Finch (aka Gene Robbins) does not escape from being loaded up with stuff as he got the portable potty and Lola got other items to place on her lap. Can we leave my embarrassment behind and not let it tag along all the way to Cornwall with us?

‘You lot do not mind if I smoke, do you?’

‘Yes, we still do mind . . . not in the car,’ I replied to Lola.

‘I thought as much. I’m trying to quit so I’ll use this instead,’ she replies as she takes the electronic cigarette and starts puffing away like she’s sucking all the oxygen out of the car’s interior and she is.

‘Blow the smoke out the window, not at me and Gregory,’ I insist.

‘It’s not smoke, its vapours.’

‘Well there’s no smoke without fire and he’s made of cardboard.’

‘Why are you wearing your hair like that?’ asks Lola, once we were heading off to meet up with Riley and family.

‘I was in the middle of curling my hair when Dad made me leave. I was running late because my watch was wrong,’ I confess.

‘You don’t normally curl your hair.’

‘I know. I’m far too lazy with it usually to bother.’

‘Was it for Mason’s benefit, by any chance?’ She knows it was.

‘No, but I know he is bringing someone with him so I wanted to look my best when I met this new girlfriend of his . . . that is all.’

‘You didn’t like the last one he brought along,’ reminds Mum.

‘Well I hope to get along better with this one than I did with Freda Monk on our Blackpool Finch family holiday.’

‘I am sure you will not be as jealous as you were back then. It’s been years since your divorce now so you should be over him by now,’ says Mum but we both know I will never be over Mason in the slightest, no matter how many times I tell myself I am. How sad am I?

‘Huh, I can handle seeing Mason with another woman. It doesn’t bother me whatsoever who he is seeing, since I see it as a positive thing that he has a new relationship and is not still hung up on me.’

‘Me thinks someone protests too much,’ remarks Lola with a cough.

‘I am not in love with my ex-husband so do not be starting any rumours . . . cousin Becky will only take the piss if she thinks that.’

‘I think Becky is going to be the least of your worries when we meet this mystery person that Mason is bringing with him,’ pipes up Mum.

They are right of course since it is easier when Mason is out of sight but the moment; I clap eyes on my ex-hubby I will want to jump on his bones to ravish the man and never let him go ever again. However, I must restrain myself or I will be the one receiving a ‘restraining order’ for he is a police officer and knows his rights on stalking issues. So I am determined that this year I will have a proper holiday romance if it kills me. I hope the men of Cornwall are ready for me and want this too or one of us will look beyond desperate to show how much I have moved on from my marriage. I was the one who divorced Mason because I cannot have kids, not the other way around. If I have moved on, why am I still single? I am alone because I choose to be alone, or so I keep telling myself. I am fussy when it comes to the opposite sex these days and frankly bored of the bores I have met through the internet who are only interested in one thing and I don’t mean a lasting relationship but sex, sex and more sex. If they were not showing me their dicks then they turned out to be dicks. This was the kind of man I was attracting anyway. Indeed, saying that, I would not mind a holiday shag to keep me going on a memory with a dude that rocks my boat. It has been too long; I have almost forgotten what to do so let us hope it is like riding a bike and you soon get the hang of it or god help the poor bloke in question if I start asking for directions as that might put him off his stroke, knowing my luck.

‘Who’s the dude in the backseat?’ asks my brother Riley when we got out to stretch our legs and meet up with them at the petrol station where we arranged for a bit of a check-up on the vehicles before the long car journey ahead of us down to Cornwall from the North West.

‘Oh that’s Gregory Finch,’ I reply, whilst deciding whether to buy a magazine or another book to go with the snacks I have selected from the shop. I put the novel back; I already have a few onboard the car.

‘I know Lola wanted him to live long enough to come on holiday with us. Please tell me she hasn’t dug him up and brought him along.’

‘Even Lola would not go that far . . . no, it’s the next best thing according to her. It is a life-size cardboard figure that is sitting in the backseat. Personally, I think she is still grieving his loss from her life and this is her way of having him around for a while longer,’ I said.

‘Well we always knew Lola was totally barking and this proves it.’

‘What’s with the little knitted scarecrow that Leon is clutching?’

‘Because we took him out of school time to go on holiday, we have to take Mr Sid to places of interest and photograph Leon with him to prove that this trip is both informative and educational or face getting our son suspended when we get back,’ says Riley and rolling his eyes.

‘What happened to a fine? You gladly paid it. It was cheaper than taking the vacation during the school holiday when the price goes up.’

‘I have seen the pictures. The scarecrow has been around the world.’

‘So he’s not camera shy then. Let’s hope you can keep Leon still long enough to take the shot,’ I quip, as Mr Sid is kicked about the grassy area before Leon chases after him for something to do whilst his mother Darcie watches on and waves at us to welcome our arrival.

‘Did you hear about the breakup?’ he asks and nods over at their car.

‘Yeah, Ned Sparrow met someone else and split with Lucy.’ He is the teenager my step-niece met last year in the Lake District.

‘Young love. Who’d go through that again?’ he says and pouts.

‘It alright for you married folk with your soul mates on tap, but spare a thought for the rest of us mourning the loss of love,’ I reply as I look over at Lucy sat sulking in the backseat and not speaking to anyone.

‘Why, who are you upset about?’

‘Well my ex-husband is bringing someone on holiday so that’s enough to get my back up,’ I confess to Riley.

‘Is that why you have a fancy hairdo?’

‘My dear brother, it is a mess. It was not meant to look like this.’

‘Ha . . . it looks like you ran out of curls halfway through.’

‘I did, thanks to Dad but I just hope I have time to do something about it before Mason and company sees me.’

‘Not long now, Kitty Kat,’ says my brother about his pregnant wife.

‘I just hope Darcie lasts the holiday before she pops that baby out.’

‘We found out the sex you know . . . do you want to know?’

‘I thought you both wanted it to be a surprise?’

‘We did at first but when we went for the latest scan; we were suddenly too tempted and excited to wait any longer so we could plan the nursery and the name before the big event,’ he says, grinning ear to ear so I know he’s dying to tell me too.

‘Well don’t tell me, Smiley Riley. I still want the surprise.’

‘Put it this way. Leon is looking forward to having a sibling that he can teach football to.’ Mum and Lola then return from the toilets.

‘So you’re having a girl, are you?’ I tease, as it could not be plainer.

‘No, we’re having a boy. Why would Leon want to teach a sister? Lucy refuses to play ball with him now and he hates that,’ said Riley.

‘What name have you chosen?’

‘Ah, that is the trouble right there. We both want different ones and we can’t agree on one that we both love so my new son could be nameless for a while after his birth, the way it’s going.’

‘Why don’t you let someone else decide then?’

‘Huh, are you offering to name our child for us?’

‘God no, I would not want to be responsible for your son’s outlook on life according to what kind of reception he receives along the way all because of his name.’ Riley looks like a chubby cheeked baby.

‘When you put it like that, Kitty Kat maybe we should take this naming thing seriously.’ I could not resist pinching his facial flesh.

‘Yes you should, Smiley Riley since nicknames can not only hurt but stick and you get sick of hearing them for the rest of your life.’

‘We didn’t have this much trouble naming Leon.’

‘That’s because you named him after Darcie’s Dad.’

‘I will have a word with Darcie and see if we can come up with something suitable, sensible but nothing strange.’

‘Good. I’m sure the kid will appreciate it when he’s older.’

‘What are you two talking about?’ asks Lola as she wanders over with Mum whilst Dad is fiddling under the car’s hood with a dipstick.

‘We were discussing what to name a boy,’ replies Riley.

‘So you had it confirmed then . . . you’re having a boy,’ says Mum.

‘Yep, latest scan the other day and everything is perfect so far.’

‘Well congratulations, Son . . . what are you naming him?’

‘We haven’t decided yet.’ We stood on the forecourt yapping.

‘I think Gregory would be a good name. He would be very proud.’

‘Err, we will see. Like I said, we have not made our minds up yet.’

‘Gregory is a lovely name, so you should be honoured to use it.’

‘Your father couldn’t wait to ditch it, for Gene,’ I remind Lola and that shut her up so she stopped hassling Riley and he nodded in relief.

‘Kitty, is that you?’ asks a man’s voice from behind me.

‘Hello, Odin . . . what are you doing here?’ I turned to face my ex.

‘Buying petrol . . . how about you?’ He looks handsome and happy.

‘We’re off to Cornwall for ten days.’ I point at the rest of them.

‘Ah, the famous Finch family holiday,’ he says, waving at them.

‘You look well . . . life as an author agrees with you I see.’

‘I’m in a good place nowadays so I can’t complain. Like the hair.’

‘It’s not meant to look like this but I ran out of steam, literally.’

‘You always did have nice hair . . . shiny and red, like my sister had before the cancer,’ he says sadly, but I wanted to remain upbeat. This is my vacation so I do not need to be on a downer from the off.

‘Hmmm. Oh, congratulations on the crime bestseller by the way,’ I said whilst smiling to change the subject to something less fraught with distressing news but I wished his sister well with her treatment.

‘Yeah . . . thanks for the brilliant review on the RATE IT GIRL book blog,’ he says and smiles back at me so it has cheered him up.

‘You know me, brutally honest where it’s due but the novel deserved high praise indeed. You must be so proud, so well done you.’

‘Cheers but no thanks to that TV comedian, ex-boyfriend of yours. He still didn’t help me after I told him I was no longer with you.’

‘Ralph Hood would not help his own mother even if she was a cripple and he was never my boyfriend. We went out a couple of times that is all but they were never proper date, dates,’ I retort.

‘I meant to call you but I wasn’t sure you would want me to.’

‘I hope we can still be friends.’ I say because I really liked Odin before it went all weird between us in the Lake District.

‘Just because I didn’t like the way you behaved, didn’t mean I didn’t like you anymore,’ he replies and we smile shyly at this memory.

‘Maybe we could go out for a date . . . as mates,’ I suggest but to be truthful I would not mind going ‘out, out’ with him again.

‘Speaking of dates, did you hear about my wedding next summer?’

‘You’re getting hitched but it’s only been a year since we broke up.’

‘It is sudden but when you meet The One, you just know it’s right.’ I guess that makes me the wrong woman for him all along.

‘I know what you mean. I had that feeling with Mason and look at where that got me, divorced, so please do not rush into anything.’

‘Here she is now, coming out of the shop. You have to meet her.’

‘I don’t need to, we already know each other.’

‘You do, well there is a coincidence and a half.’ I cannot believe it either. This is the woman, who Odin professes to love more than he ever did me and wants to marry her to boot. What has she got that I have not? Not, that I necessarily wanted to match down the aisle with Odin but still it is a kick in the teeth nonetheless.

‘Hello, Kitty Finch . . . I haven’t seen you since Blackpool.’ She forgot to add that she was having her hen party at the time.

‘Hi, Jenna . . . is your surname still Bull or did you change it when you got married that same summer?’ Did I drop her right in it?

‘Bit of a sore point, that time in my life. I was jilted at the altar. Can you believe it and I never thought I would find love ever again but here we are, madly in love and getting married next year?’

‘Wow, never say never I guess . . . it really is a small world when my old friend and my ex-boyfriend hook up. So how did you guys meet?’ This I have to hear because it cannot be, the same way we did.

‘We met over the internet,’ he replies and it was like us, spooky.

‘Just goes to show that internet dating does work for some.’

‘I suppose the lucky ones are the ones that don’t give-up,’ said Odin.

‘Good luck with everything for the future. I’m sure it will go to plan and no hiccups,’ I said to wish them well and show no hard feelings.

‘Oh I know this wedding is going to be a happy occasion. Lightning cannot be so cruel as to strike twice to ruin my life again.’

‘Hey, no negative thoughts . . . I am not that twat. I am, Odin Lambert and I love you, Jenna Bull with all my heart,’ he says and kisses her in front of me. Was it for my benefit that Jenna made it last as long as it did and with so much passion? I feel car sick again. Only I am nowhere near the vehicle so I have no real excuse other than I hate this happening. What can I do to stop it without looking jealous?

‘Anyways, I’ve got to go on holiday so I’ll be seeing you then, bye.’

‘Hold on, I wanted to ask you something. Did you sleep with Odin?’

‘I told you, we never had sex,’ claims Odin and rolling his eyes.

‘I want to hear it from her mouth, woman to woman,’ insists Jenna.

‘Do not worry . . . you are not having my sloppy seconds,’ I replied.

‘Before you go, you must give me the name of your stylist . . . so I can avoid her,’ quips Jenna being sarcastic and sniggering at my one-sided hairdo. She is clearly upset that I got with Odin first.

‘I would, but she only does special clientele and celebrities.’

‘I don’t know of any special needs, celebrities,’ snipes Jenna.

‘Well I’d worry more about your man turning up for your wedding, than your hair.’ I regret the low remark the moment it leaves my lips.

‘At least my man will still be there long after the ink dries on my wedding certificate,’ she says with a glare at me. Touché, she wins.

‘We must keep in contact so we can invite you to the wedding,’ pipes up Odin to stop this conversation going any further and resulting in us pulling each other’s hair out in a brawl, over him.

‘I would love to come,’ I lie because I will have to make damn sure that I am on holiday next summer when it takes place, or die of envy.

Having locked and loaded the vehicle with enough gear to see us through a Zombie apocalypse (should one break out to add to the sense of adventure on our holiday). Well we were finally off and running on our journey south when we started out by following Riley’s vehicle but soon lost him on the motorway when he put his foot down and left us for dead. My older brother did warn us that he was not sticking to the plan of us all travelling down there together and that he would do this because Riley needed to get there as quickly as possible. My brother could not wait around for us to catch up before that family of his drove him around the bend with their moaning, fighting and worst of all, singing. We had the radio on but no music, since they were listening to a BBC drama. The only interesting part of it for me was trying to work out how they did the sounds in the old days when Dad explained that they did not have modern technology to push a button and produce a door slamming or a herd of wildebeests stampeding. No, they had to improvise and do it all themselves. After several minutes of that guessing game, I had enough so I put on my earphones to listen to my music instead.

It was Dad swearing his head off that woke me up. When Lola and Mum insisted that he pull the car over so they could have a wee by the side of the vehicle for there was nowhere else they could go as they took it in turns to block the view from oncoming traffic. I did not need one so Dad had no reason at all to be annoyed with me until that is I felt the need. Well I reckon having a pee is a bit like a yawn and once you see someone else do it then you really, really want to do it too. At least I did not have to go by the side of the road so that is a blessing. By the time, my father agreed to pull over after arguing the toss about timekeeping and could I not hold it in as we were already several miles further up the road. This turned out to be in my favour because we came across a roadside cafe. Indeed, a burger van to be blunt but it did have plastic tables and chairs in front of it and more importantly, a proper portable WC by the side of it in the parking area. Therefore, I did not have to use the cardboard toilet thingy that they did and is now next to me on the lap of the cardboard figure image of my late great-grandfather. I swear I can smell piss and I do not think it is coming from Gregory Finch (aka the stage actor Gene Robbins). Did one of them pee on the cardboard toilet seat or what?

Whilst I raced inside the portaloo for a never-ending pee or so it seemed, since I had been holding it in from the moment I told everyone that I didn’t need to go way back at the petrol station so it had got to the point where it had no place to go but out. I placed an order with my parents on what I would like to eat and drink for we had decided to have an afternoon snack after eating the butties on the go earlier on that my mother had made us for lunch during our journey so far. It was also a chance to stretch the legs and that is never a bad thing for the cramp was starting to bug me. Only this was not a good thing in the end. Granted I got to, have a wee but I paid a heavy price for it and I am not talking about spending a penny. Seriously, this could not be happening as I held onto the basin and prayed to make it stop moving but a fat lot of good that did me. For some idiot driving a campervan with a dingy and surfboard trailer on the back pulled into the lay-by and backed the vehicle up to park it but obviously not having had enough experience at this, well, he only went and crashed into the portaloo with me still in it busy washing my hands as it tipped over.

I was, of course, thrown against the side of the wall as it landed on the soft grassy ground. I know it was a stupid accident and could have happened to anyone, but why me? What have I done to deserve this? Okay, do not answer that or they will be queuing up to knock this box over repeatedly. As they dragged my weary body out of it afterwards and luckily no harm had come to me, whilst I was covered from head to toe in dye and God knows what else but believe me when I say that I was blue both inside and out at this surprising start to our holiday adventure. The people who ran the burger van could not apologise enough and neither could the retired couple from the campervan.

I am talking about Mr (tattooed man-boobs) Speedo with the encouragement from Mrs (tattooed saggy tits) Bikini and talk about travelling light for they forgot to wear much clothing but show signs of going through a midlife crisis where they think they are twenty-one again and can get away with wearing as little attire as possible. Is that pot, I can smell on him? The couple in question offered me cold hard cash for my troubles. I am not soft. I took it but I think it was also hush money so as not to a) call the cops to have them arrested and b) contact the solicitors to sue them or c) contact an insurance company to put in a claim. I was then hosed down by my mother with freezing cold water as I washed quickly with a shower gel. So it was a good job, it was a warm, sunny day or I would have froze to death before changing my soaking clothes behind the burger van for privacy.

Indeed, I ended up wearing some of Lola’s gear for the rest of our journey south because my father refused to dig my case out of the stuff he had managed to bury it in and Lola’s holdall was right at the front of the pile of course so that was convenient for him, not me. I look like a deadly, escaped mental patient with a bluish tinge to my skin and hair. While I am currently wearing some red short silky pyjamas and a white robe with matching slippers but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. When wishing the blue colour would wash off easily when using proper cleaning products but to no avail, so I guess it will take a second (hot) shower or a long soak in the bath to return my pallor back to the pale shade it was before this incident. The only positive thing to happen was the fact that my red (now blue) hairstyle was no longer curly on one side and straight on the other, for it was just damp all over now which is slightly less embarrassing.

As I tried my best to towel-dry it on the backseat before giving up and wrapping the white towel around my head for I was getting funny looks off Lola every time I hit Gregory Finch in his cardboard face with my elbow. Anyone would think it was the real dude and I was hurting him, the way she was reacting. I just want to get there now so as, to be sorted out for I could not wait to feel like my old self again. It was also a case of us arriving before Mason and company so they do not see me like this as the race was on. I had asked my father to drive faster. However, I think his car only has one speed limit and it refuses to go over it no matter how much you beg. While I cannot believe Dad’s bloody old faithful vehicle made it all the way to Cornwall without conking out once. It meant I lost the bet with Lola. It did it in spite, just to make a liar of me but at least we are here at last. Hurrah, for our Finch family holiday has finally begun.

‘Is that their holiday home? It looks too small to fit all of us in,’ I said.

‘No, that’s the gatekeeper’s lodge. He looks after the place when they are not here. Honk your horn and he will open it up,’ says Mum.

‘He seems friendly,’ said Lola as the tall skin headed, pierced man comes out carrying an axe. He stares at us but says nothing when Dad leans out the window to explain who we are and that we are, expected so it is safe to open up the gate for us and we are not here to burgle the place but holiday for ten whole days at SUMMERSIDE HOUSE. Uncle Billy did tell me at the funeral of Gregory Finch that the locals nicknamed it ‘suicide house’ after the last resident took her own life (when her husband left her for a younger woman) by flinging herself off the cliff’s edge to her doom. They fished her body out of the water several days later but not a mark on her (despite eye witnesses seeing her hit the rocky terrain several times on the way down) so she remained as beautiful as the day he married her in her wedding dress in the open casket, spooky or what? When Mason and I split, never once did I question the value of my life. When you hit rock bottom, there is only one way up as far as I am concerned unless of course you do actually hit rock bottom as in this case. Onwards and upwards, is my motto and living by that no matter what is my motive in life.

‘Christ, Kitty . . . what happened . . . are you ill?’ asks Becky (my cousin) when I crawl out of the car on our arrival at the main house like the un-dead for I was so stiff I could hardly move, never mind speak. I ignored her question, as my mouth was dry probably from all that vapour in the car thanks to Lola puffing away like a dragon. I felt like I was on stage and someone had gone berserk with a smoke machine so you could hardly see through the fog. God knows how Dad drove the car in the misty atmosphere but it seemed as if we had entered Victorian London through a time warp at one stage when we got lost. The mysterious Beast of Bodmin (supposed to be an escaped black panther that kills local animals but nobody has proved it) could have been alongside our vehicle and we would not have noticed it.

‘Huh, if you think this is bad . . . you should have seen Kitty’s hair before it got wet,’ says Lola and gathered them in for a group hug.

‘What was it like?’ asks Becky, being nosey, so she can tease me.

‘It was straight on one side and curly on the other.’ Thanks for sharing that, not.

‘Quite odd but then again, we are talking about Kitty so that’s understandable I guess,’ replies Becky with a smirk, nodding at me.

‘Hello, I am here. I can hear you talking about me, right in front of my face.’ My cousin Becky is a fashion model and boy, does she know it is something to be proud of for she cannot wait to show off her latest magazine shoots and ad campaigns whilst telling us all about her catwalk exploits. We can expect a rundown with a photo slideshow of all the locations she has visited and all the celeb gossip.

‘Ha, my dear girl, you look like a Smurf,’ said Uncle Billy, giving me a hug before patting the white towel wrapped around my head. Uncle Billy is pale-skinned like me and has a mop of red unruly hair that curls naturally. Becky takes after her mother so she is darker.

‘Cheers, nice to see you guys too. Looking lovely and normal,’ I mutter, glancing around at the cars on the gravel driveway to check if I spot Mason’s vehicle. I do not, so I breathe a sigh of relief since I still have time to do something about the way I look if I can just take a bath to soak this shit off my skin and hair. Riley and family are here.

‘Good God, who have we got there? Is that King Lear?’ asks Billy.

‘Yep, that’s Gregory Finch aka Gene Robbins when he played King Lear on stage. He was so proud of it that I had to have it blown up.’

‘There is still time to do that, literally,’ I quip as Lola holds him up.

‘Come on in you guys, you must be tired after your long journey.’

‘I could do with a cuppa,’ says Lola as Mum nods in agreement.

‘I will see to it while Becky shows you where you will be staying,’ instructs Uncle Billy as he heads off for the kitchen whilst Becky gives us the guided tour so no time to bathe at this rate before Mason shows up. We find Riley and family seated on sofas once inside the house. It is a big place full of beams and walls of stone, but cosy too.

‘You took your time, we thought you got lost,’ says my brother.

‘We had an accident to sort out,’ replies Mum and nodding at me.

‘Are you all right, Kitty?’ asks Darcie and at least someone cares.

‘Yes I am fine . . . I just had a fight with a portaloo and it won as you can see,’ I replied and this remark cracked a smile on Lucy’s face for a second or two to cheer her up since the poor girl is heartbroken.

‘Here’s Mason now,’ said Lola as we heard the crunch of gravel outside on the drive as his car pulls up. Great, I bet his latest girlfriend is stylish and cool whilst I could not have looked less sophisticated if I tried and they are going to see me like this. Bollocks to this scenario, as I rush to the window to spy on the person he has brought with him.

Day 2

Turns out it was not a woman after all that Mason Finch had brought on holiday with him. It was a man and no, I had not turned my ex-husband gay before the rumours start. It was Mason’s younger brother (by two years) namely Dane Finch and he is cheekier than his sibling is whilst being not so shy about coming forward to pat my bum when hugging me and making a comment about me being ready for his bed. Well we are no longer related and I am not his sister-in-law anymore as he pointed out to remind me, as if I needed reminding. That was until he clapped eyes on my younger cousin Becky (by three years) who he has not seen since our wedding when he tried to get with her then but she had a boyfriend at the time so no such luck. It was suddenly a case of Kitty, who? Now that Dane (who has obviously been on the protein shakes and working weights since I last saw him) has found out that Becky is single again. Speaking of all things heavy, I was duly dropped like a lead weight as Becky took centre stage to command his attention and this I didn’t mind really for it freed me up to speak to Mason. My hunky ex-hubby who I will never tire of seeing so pity it is not on a daily basis anymore.

‘Are you going to a fancy-dress party?’ he asks, inspecting me.

‘Ha, that’s what I thought too. She reminds me of a Smurf,’ interrupts Uncle Billy when he comes into the room carrying a tray full of teas.

‘I had an accident in a portaloo but I am fine, just a little blue.’

‘I can see that. How’s life . . . I have not heard from you lately?’

‘I am doing all right . . . live at the back of the bookshop nowadays.’

‘So you have your own flat or is it a bedsit?’ I hesitate to tell him.

‘It’s a storage cupboard,’ butts in Lola to put him straight about it.

‘It’s not a cupboard. You are making it sound like Harry Potter living under the stairs. It is a proper room with my sofa bed in it, small wardrobe, TV on the wall, a kitchenette and a separate loo.’

‘I wouldn’t call a microwave, kettle and toaster a kitchenette,’ says Mum. Cheers for pointing that out to make it sound as shit as it is.

‘You forgot the fridge. I have a small one,’ I say to make it known.

‘I guess you just needed your own space,’ says Mason with a wink.

‘Yes and I am glad someone understands that,’ I reply with a smile.

‘Is it legal to live in a broom cupboard?’ asks Riley. Who asked my brother to pipe up with a question that can get me into trouble with the law, in front of a police officer? I do not think Mason heard him.

‘Christ, this place must feel like a palace if you’ve been living in a cupboard under the stairs,’ interrupts Becky, hearing half of it.

‘It’s a storage room in the back of the bookshop,’ corrects Lola.

‘That’s what I said,’ insists Becky. There is no point arguing the toss so I let them think what they like. I am just glad Mason has not brought a girlfriend along, as it would have affected my holiday fun to be truthful and now I can simply relax and enjoy our time together.

‘So do you like living alone?’ asks Mason.

‘I love it. I like the peace and quiet, after living with the parents,’ I reply but in reality, some days I get so lonely I stand in the doorway of the bookshop to prevent the customers from leaving until they have chatted with me or threatened to call the cops, whichever comes first.

‘I still share a house with Dane,’ said my ex-hubby.

‘Well I didn’t expect you to settle down with your brother.’

‘We’re like chalk and cheese but we are siblings so it works for us.’

‘Are there any ladies in the picture for either of you?’ I ask but I am not so interested about Dane’s love life, just who Mason is seeing.

‘No . . . we’re both single and he’s ready to mingle as they say but me, I prefer to spend time with the Finch family. I’m not looking for any hook-ups on holiday,’ he replies and gives me a smile that makes the butterflies in my stomach have butterflies. It’s that nervous just being around him for I can’t trust my feelings not to spill over into dramatic consequences where I make a right knob of myself when I declare my undying love for this man and he rejects me with the immortal words of it’s not me, it’s you and he’d be right about that.

‘Yeah, me too . . . I don’t need anyone when I’ve got this lot to hang out with. Bet you’ll never guess who Odin is marrying next year.’

‘Your ex-boyfriend, the convict turned author . . . Odin Lambert.’

‘Yep, the one and only . . . he’s getting hitched to Jenna Bull of all people.’

‘Well there’s a turn-up for the books,’ puns Mason. I smile back.

‘They have a lot in common, mainly me and met over the internet to fall madly in love. I got a verbal invite to the wedding.’

‘Are you going?’

‘No way am I going to do that. I will make sure to be out of the country when it happens, even if I have to hijack a plane to do it,’ I joke.

‘I thought Jenna was getting married in Blackpool the other year?’

‘She was, but he jilted her at the altar. God help Odin if he backs out too since she’ll string him up by his nachos if he doesn’t show up.’

‘Mason, Dane . . . let me guide you to where you can put those cases of yours,’ butts in Uncle Billy as he escorts the brothers to their bedroom, which is up the wooden open plan stairs in the living room.

‘I think Dane fancies you, Becky . . . are you up for a holiday romance?’ I ask my cousin as we watch them leave our presence. I have decided that I am not up for a holiday romance. No, I am just content to spend time with Mason and pretend that we are still in love. Call me a sad sack all you want but I have the rest of the year to be with someone else if they’ll have me but for these ten days, Mason belongs to me again. In my head anyway and it is blissfully happy.

‘Oh I am up for one all right, but not with Dane. I think Mason is the better looking brother so I fancy my chances with him instead.’

‘Err . . . you were a bridesmaid at my wedding, don’t forget, so is that not a little weird to want to get with the groom?’ I ask in shock.

‘Nah, I’ve always been hot for Mason and now he’s here and finally free of you, well I see no point wasting time if we can get it on,’ she says and has no shame in telling me this to my face. I am gobsmacked. Was she harbouring secret feelings for Mason when I was walking down the aisle towards him with her hoping I would trip up and break my neck before I even got there? Come to think of it. Becky did step on my train and nearly made me go arse over tit but for my dad holding me upright. Moreover, she also tried to talk me out of marrying Mason by saying he was far too good for me and was bound to leave me for another woman (meaning her no doubt). What a conniving cow of a cousin I have. No wonder my marriage failed if it was, cursed from the start by Becky who I have always suspected of being a witch. There is a family rumour, going round that I started for a laugh but it took hold so they now think that she casts spells and makes potions to sell over the internet as a sideline business to her modelling jobs. All I have to do is prove it to confirm this belief true.

‘You can’t get with my ex-husband. What about the gal-pal code?’

‘I do what I want with who I want. Sod any own gender solidarity.’

‘What about my feelings on the subject? Don’t they count, never mind the rest of the female population.’ I was outraged at the thought.

‘You’re jealous but you let him go, so do you expect Mason to stay single for the rest of his life?’ We are huddled in the corner chatting.

‘No, I expected him to settle down with a nice woman eventually who would give him kids but not my own cousin,’ I said, but I could tell by her face that she did not care what I felt about the subject.

‘Whoa, back up there . . . who said anything about settling down and having kids? I just want a holiday shagging session with Mason, nothing more.’ She held her hands in the air at the serious suggestion.

‘I gathered that much and that is why you should not do this.’

‘Listen, I am being courteous by warning you in advance that I am going to get with Mason so you would not be upset by this happening in front of you,’ she says with a wicked grin that is enjoying this.

‘Well why you would want to get with a man that has a sexually transmitted disease is beyond me,’ I lie to put her off Mason.

‘What has Mason got?’ she asks loudly as the others look over.

‘I can’t recall the name of it but he picked it up off that Freda one.’

‘I had one once but I got it cleared up so I should have a word with him and compare notes,’ she replies and is going to take it further. Bugger this; I will have to come clean about lying to put her off him.

‘OK he doesn’t have a sexually transmitted disease off Freda. I made it up because I did not want to have to tell you this, but Mason left me for someone else so he will cheat on you too if you get with him.’

‘Why would I care about that? I’m not looking to marry the guy, just shag him.’

‘What if I told you the person he left me for, was a man?’ I said to shock her into leaving Mason alone as a last resort, for I was that desperate to come up with a way to ward off the witch. Will garlic work on witches as well as vampires? If I can just get Mason to eat enough of it, you never know.

‘Huh, you would never have guessed it but so what if he is bisexual.

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